The bike is an age-old symbol of affordable transportation. In fact, the bicycle is thought to have been first conceived way back in 1493 when Gian Giacomo Caprotti allegedly made a sketch (there is some controversy about the original author). Since that time more than 500 years ago, various improvements have transported the bike from a clunky metal-on-wheels machine to a traveling experience with lightweight carbon frames and sleek, smooth tires.
Over time, models have emerged with multiple wheels or bikes that could accommodate multiple riders. Different bikes have different brakes and gears. Throughout all the changes however, there always has been at least one constant: the user has to put his or her foot to pedal to get moving.
That is, until now.
FlyKly’s Smart Wheel
If you are a fitness enthusiast who enjoys powering up hills and sweating through commutes, look the other way. FlyKly is set to unleash the Smart Wheel into the bicycle world, revolutionizing the way people get from place to place. The company calls it a “new perspective” on an old method of transportation, and they couldn’t be more right.
Many people prefer to ride a bike to work or on errands because it is typically more affordable than the alternative. However, pumping pedals means users may be in less-than-presentable shape when they show up for a board meeting or lunch with friends. The Smart Wheel remedies that problem by eliminating pedaling altogether. This means:
- Scenery can be the focus of the user, not struggling through a workout
- No change of clothes necessary
- Bicyclists become more efficient with their energy
No, Really, It’s Smart
So how smart is this wheel? It will connect to your phone (assuming you have a smartphone, that is). There is a FlyKly app that works via a Bluetooth connection to perform tasks such as monitoring speed and recording how far someone travels and how fast. Bonus: The app can even lock the Smart Wheel and track the bike if it starts moving, like, say, if someone else tries to take off with this new, pedal-free technology.
FlyKly isn’t done there. Because the Smart Wheel is tracking trips, it can actually learn from an individual’s habits. Through the app, the user can get tips on how their biking experience may be improved.
For people looking to take advantage of less labor-intensive cycling, the Smart Wheel will be available soon. To get yours, simply ride over to the FlyKly website http://www.flykly.com/ and preorder your wheel. According to the manufacturer, wheels start shipping in June of this year.
Remember when you were younger and you would spend hours following the instructions on your LEGO set to produce intricate rocket ships or pirate battle scenes? Perhaps you still play with LEGOs today (no judgment here).
Imagine if those small, plastic pieces could do more than simply entertain and teach engineering basics. Imagine if they could change the world and truly help other people.
One seventh-grader in California is doing just that. Spurred by a passion to serve others, he developed a Braille printer using only his LEGOs and his creativity.
An Affordable Solution
Shubham Banerjee, a 12-year-old from San Jose, said he has been playing with LEGOs since he was a toddler. His invention, which he calls “Braigo,” came about after he saw pieces of mail at home that were asking for donations to help the blind. Shubham asked his parents how blind people are able to read, and they responded, “Google it.”
So the youth went to work researching Braille, and he discovered that the average printer costs a blind person about $2,000. Shubham said that those who are blind are already at a disadvantage, and he didn’t think they should have to pay such a large amount of money for a necessary tool.
He wanted to develop a more affordable printer, so he started brainstorming with a number of different sets of LEGOs – nine editions, to be specific. He eventually settled on the model Mindstorms EV3. Through putting together the pieces, he developed a Braille printer that costs a mere $350. That is 82 percent less than the high-tech options he found in his research.
And He Isn’t Finished
Shubham is currently working on another model that will have a smartphone plug-in. This will enable users to create words in Braille through their phones.
The young philanthropist said he wishes other people were making printers to help the blind instead of charging them so much money. His overall goal is to simply provide the disabled with something that is both useful and affordable.
With that in mind, he is going to post instructions online so other people will be able to make their own Braigo printers. Shubham already has a YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YfnKB1zWOU in which he explains how the device works. He is also seeking donations so he can make more printers to help the blind.
Braigo nabbed Shubham first place at his school’s science fair. He says he plans to go to Stanford to earn his degree with hopes of becoming an engineer. Based on his outstanding work with LEGOs, there is little doubt that Shubham will continue to make waves.
Thanks to Magnetic Kitchen for this awesome Mako Invent laser-engraved skateboard deck gift! We love seeing this kind of inventive design spirit. They’re off to the races with a big Kickstarter campaign for their amazing decks, check them out, only a few days left to grab one of their custom boards (click below).
Magnetic Kitchen is a laser cutting and design studio in NYC. They do all sorts of laser cutting and engraving work for a wide range of applications and clients. Formed from a tight group of friends, Magnetic Kitchen is always pushing the technical and creative boundaries of design.
What is a laser engraved skateboard you ask? Laser engraving is a high tech process that uses super powerful light (a laser) to apply art to the board instead of the conventional method of laminating the board with a printed graphic. To accomplish this the laser burns away a small layer of wood that creates an awesome embossed effect that you can see and feel while allowing the grain of the board to show through.
Let’s face it: Not every idea is a bright idea. In fact, some ideas may be best left on a piece of paper in the back of a desk drawer. But the human mind is curious and innovative, and it cannot be stopped when it is determined. Thus, the U.S. Patent Office has put its stamp of approval on a number of inventions that are interesting, at best. Here are four reasons even your most ridiculous idea could actually stand a chance at earning a patent:
1. The Solution for Floppy Doggy Ears
If you have a furry friend with long beautiful ears, you probably lose sleep at night thinking about those ears hanging in the dog food bowl. You toss and turn as you picture bits of kibble tangled in the once-beautiful hair that lines your pup’s ears.
Thankfully, someone created a device known as U.S. Patent #4233942. The cuffs can be placed around each ear to hold them far from your dog’s mouth as it scarfs up dinner. You’re welcome.
2. Does Your Cat Get Enough Exercise?
Before you think about taking your cat for a walk, you need to hear about this million-dollar idea. The inventor came up with a way to send your cat into a fury as it chases a light that comes from a handheld device. According to the patent, the device sends a beam of light onto a floor or wall, and said light can be moved around in a way that is “fascinating” to cats.
Want to see the device in action? Simply go to any cat owner’s home and ask to see their laser pointer.
Or check out any of a million YouTube videos of cats going crazy. How this got patented is a miracle.
3. A Solitary High Five
If you want to get really bummed out, check out “The Apparatus for Simulating a High Five.” This is exactly what it sounds like. The patent explains that a solitary fan cannot otherwise express excitement during a sporting event. If you are watching sports by yourself and feel the urge to high-five someone but no one is around, just turn to your trusty fake hand for a hard, plastic palm-slap.
4. A Real Kick in the Pants
You know how some days you just wish you had someone around to kick your butt? Literally kick your butt? Look no further than a patented device that can provide repetitive blows to your rear end.
Through cranking a lever, the user puts rotating arms into action to deliver kick after kick. According to the patent, it is an amusement apparatus, but it does not sound like much fun.
There you have it: four examples of why human innovation will never cease to amaze. Thanks to a nondiscriminatory patent office, you can put your mark on the invention world with just about any idea.
Mako Invent, Ryerson University, and RBC Royal Bank have teamed up for the first annual Student Invention Awards at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Student Product Designers and Inventors are competing for over $10,000 in cash and services-in-kind! Over the next few weeks, students will be busy finalizing their consumer product designs, invention ideas, product prototypes, and invention business plans.
More information about the Award can be found here: www.makoinvent.com/ryersonaward
The Awards will be taking place on the afternoon of Apr. 11, 2014 at the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (10 Dundas Street East, 6th Floor), so save the date as anyone affiliated with Mako Invent are welcome (Non-Disclosure Agreements will be signed at the event of course!).
Top Picture: Mako Invent‘s President Kevin Mako speaking to students, faculty, and industry partners about the industrial design awards.